The Art of Being Comfortable in Our Own Family’s Skin

What has God uniquely poured into your family? Are you willing to walk in the way he leads, even if it looks different than other families around you? There is freedom to lean in and grow in grace, and to learn how to feel at home in your own family's skin!

No man is ever called to be another. God has as many plans for men as he has men; and, therefore, he never requires them to measure their life exactly by way of any other life. — Horace Bushnell

We are sleep nazis — especially when it comes to our children.

When our girls were babies and the afternoon clock struck 1:00, back home we’d travel to nestle them into their own beds. Sometimes we’d turn down invitations because it meant our kids would miss their bedtimes. Even now our 13-year-old is quite nonplussed with her 9:30 pm lights-out regimen.

Holding to a stringent sleep schedule works for our family, but even so, I can’t say that I haven’t envied parents whose children sleep on the floor or behind the couch or beneath a table leaving them free to happily socialize at a friend’s house long into the wee hours of the night.

But as I secretly admire my friends’ less strict bed timetables, friends share with me how they desire to have a sleep strategy more like ours…

And isn’t that how it goes? We parents adhere to a pattern that works, and then we see another family doing something different and maybe kind of cool, and we think… We should do {fill in the blank} like that family does, for surely then we can achieve peace and pleasure, happiness and bliss in our home.

Like that time I learned that my friend’s family reads novels together every night before bedtime, or how another friend’s family routinely memorizes scripture at the breakfast table. And then there’s my friend who acts out Bible stories with her kids and plans elaborate 40-day object lesson surprises for her family before Easter. Or my other friend who tucks encouraging Pinterest printables into her kids’ lunch bags or onto their pillows or into their cars.

Obviously, I’m surrounded by some amazing friends.

Which is why I may or may not have suggested on several occasions to my husband that we memorize scripture together at breakfast, act out Bible stories at lunch, read books together at bedtime, and print personal messages of motivation for our kids in between.

{Pause now and be glad that you are not my parenting partner.}

As I’ve matured, though, I now appreciate the beautiful differences between the way my family functions as compared to other families, and I can both admire those differences and learn from them while at the same time practice the art of being comfortable in our own family’s skin.

Now don’t get me wrong: it is important and helpful to share ideas with one another. In fact, talking to a group of moms is how I learned to get our toddler to stay in bed all through the night.

But here’s the thing: swapping strategies only works well when we’re willing to tailor those tactics to fit the unique dynamics of our people.

It’s why I can value the family who serves together in a homeless shelter, esteem the family who fosters children in the community and respect the family who ministers to the poor in Peru — all without diminishing the unique gifting and purpose God has laid out for our family.

Each of our families is different; not one of us is called to be like another.

My prayer? That we delight in the distinctions as we learn the art of being comfortable in our own family’s skin.



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  1. Thank you for addressing this. This is something I have definitely struggled with: the balance between sharing ideas among families and borrowing some ideas, without trying to do every single family tradition that has worked for every family out there. (By the way, I too am a sleep nazi! Birthday parties and holiday dinners were always scheduled around my son’s nap schedule, and while we might have missed a few opportunities, it was worth it to keep him on a consistent napping schedule which lasted till after his 4th birthday, unlike many kids I know who stopped napping a couple of years earlier, probably because their naptime wasn’t placed on a pedestal as my son’s was! Which is fine if that’s what worked best for their families!)

    P.S. I read your bio, and I think it’s so cool that you had a daughter on your 10th anniversary and again on your 20th!

    1. Hi Claire! The struggle is REAL, man! LOL! Thanks for sharing your encouraging words.

      P.S. Sleep nazis, UNITE! 😉

      P.P.S. God’s plan for our family, while not OUR plan, has always been the very best plan. So yeah… I agree with you… It’s cool! 🙂

  2. Great article, Rhonda! Making decisions about what’s best in terms of routines and needs are best done with our spouse and prayer! Not just copying what works for others.

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Danielle! And yessssss: simply copying is NEVER a good idea! God made us all so different and unique!

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